What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. In light of that, when we looked at Kimball Electronics (NASDAQ:KE) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.
What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. To calculate this metric for Kimball Electronics, this is the formula:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.086 = US$50m ÷ (US$953m - US$377m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2022).
Thus, Kimball Electronics has an ROCE of 8.6%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Electronic industry average of 11%.
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Kimball Electronics compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
What Can We Tell From Kimball Electronics' ROCE Trend?
In terms of Kimball Electronics' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 11%, but since then they've fallen to 8.6%. However it looks like Kimball Electronics might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.
Our Take On Kimball Electronics' ROCE
To conclude, we've found that Kimball Electronics is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. Unsurprisingly, the stock has only gained 12% over the last five years, which potentially indicates that investors are accounting for this going forward. As a result, if you're hunting for a multi-bagger, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.
On a final note, we've found 1 warning sign for Kimball Electronics that we think you should be aware of.
If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.